When you leave the military service, your discharge status can be honorable, general or dishonorable. You earn a dishonorable discharge from military service by a court-martial conviction, resigning to avoid a court martial, desertion, treason, absence without leave (AWOL) or other actions that are characterized as unbecoming to military personnel. In order to change a dishonorable discharge to a general discharge, you have to appeal the discharge with the discharge review board in charge of the branch of service from which you received the discharge.

Download or obtain Form DD-293, which is the application for the review of discharge from the armed forces of the United States (see Resources).

Complete the form. You need to fill in the application for review as completely and accurately as possible. Incomplete information or inaccurate information can delay the processing of the form and the scheduling of the review board evaluating your dispute or request for the change in discharge status.

Request “General Discharge.” In Section 5 of the application, place an “X” in the box next to “Change to Honorable.”

Request the type of review you are seeking. In Section 9 of the application, choose how you would like the review board to proceed. You can choose to have the review board base their decision on your military record or to appear in front of them at a hearing to state your case. If you are making the request on behalf of a deceased family member, there is an option for this as well.

Sign and date the form.

Submit the completed form and supplemental documentation to the branch of service. On Page 2 of the application, identify the branch of service you need to submit the review request form. This is the address where you should mail the form.

Tip

  • The review board does not have to honor a request for the change of a dishonorable discharge to a general one. The burden falls on you to provide a valid reason and any supporting proof as to why the review board should honor the change in request. Once you present the information, the review board has standards it must abide by in order to come to a decision.

Tip

  • A dishonorable discharge affects the benefits that a veteran and his family receives from the military. In essence, a dishonorable discharge means a loss of military benefits such as the GI Bill, retirement income and other benefits due to those who are honorably or generally discharged from military service.